Tips for the Beginning Spring Gardener

Helpful tips and tricks for those looking to grow their green thumb.

What says “spring” more than watching flowers bloom? That’s probably reason enough to start starting your own garden, not even including other benefits like growing your own herbs and vegetables. If you’re finally ready to give home gardening a try, read our helpful tips below before you get started to ensure that your garden gets off to a good (and green) start.

Research

First of all, research what kind of plants may work best for your area. Not every kind of plant thrives in every environment and some may be better suited to the soil in your region than others due to weather or mineral content. Once you figure out a good list of potential candidates find out what you need to do to prep the soil so that it meets the plants’ specific needs. For example, plants like gardenias and even some fruits like blueberries love more acidic soil. If that’s the case, use old tea bags or coffee grounds to pump up the acidity. Preparation and knowledge are half the battle when it comes to gardening.

Tools

There is an old saying that goes something like “a worker is only as good as his tools” (we’re paraphrasing here). Hand tools aren’t everything, but good equipment can make the whole gardening process so much easier. Rather than going and buying every tool you can find, start off with the essentials; things like a trowel, gloves, weeding fork, rake, and digger are key. If you don’t feel like finding each on their own, many companies sell “starter kits” that have some of the bare essentials you’ll need. Just remember, when it comes to tools, quality is better than quantity. Investing in good tools, and taking good care of those tools, means you won’t be repurchasing them again season after season.

Insect Control

If you plan on planting vegetables and fruit, you may find that your garden gets some unwanted attention from local insects. Well, there are ways that you can help ward off these pesky neighbors. Of course traditional pesticides are always a reliable option. However, if you have pets of your own, you may be concerned about them eating the plants that have been treated or maybe you just like to keep your garden natural. If that’s the case, there are still plenty of options. Try planting flowers around your garden. You’ll still get insects, but ones that don’t harm your plants and will eat other, more harmful bugs. A liberal application of garlic oil or peppermint oil to your garden will also ward off unwanted insects. If you’re concerned about rodents, install a fence, but make sure to dig it deep underground.

Final Steps

Taking care of the finishing touches will make life easier down the road. Make sure you label each row of seeds. This way you’ll know how to care for each without spending 20 minutes trying to figure out exactly where you planted which vegetable. Also, remember, clay pots are your friend. These little pots can help protect young plants from overnight freezes and may help deter rodents. Just make sure you clean the pot with a mixture of alcohol, white vinegar and water, scrubbing the pots with the mixture and allow them to dry, before you plant anything. This will help you prevent salt deposits which may build up on pots over time.



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